Wulfsyarn: A Mosaic

Philip Mann, Author, Phillip Mann, Author William Morrow & Company $22 (356p) ISBN 978-0-688-11881-5
This ambitious novel from the New Zealand-based author of Pioneers offers strong support for the definition of science fiction as a literature of ideas. The story appears to be a biography of a starship captain named John Wilberfoss, as written by an artificial intelligence called Wulf the Autoscribe. But Wilberfoss's life is only one small aspect of this immensely complex book, in which Mann unfolds his conception of the future. Mann envisions a universe where contact with aliens is commonplace, Christianity and paganism have been merged into a new religion, and the monks of St. Francis Dionysos are attempting to restore order to the galaxy after two devastating wars. There is a diverse and well-developed cast of characters--human, alien and artificial--but their main purpose is to serve as mouthpieces and illustrations for Mann's ideas about art, religion, science, war and human nature in general. This makes for occasionally slow reading as Mann interrupts the plot for long, tangential discussions. But the richness of the ideas ensures that the tale never gets boring. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 08/31/1992
Release date: 09/01/1992
Genre: Fiction
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